When conjuring up stories of ghostly legends and paranormal encounters, the Christmas season isn't usually what comes to mind. With its tree-filled windows and light-strewn rooftops, Christmas is typically admired as a time for being with loved ones, giving heartfelt gifts, and snuggling up next to a warm fire with some hot cocoa. But what happens when something goes bump in the night and it isn't Santa Claus?
Christmas ghost stories are far more common than many people might expect. In fact, sharing ghost stories from years past was once a Christmas Eve tradition. So before you unwrap any presents, let these scary ghost stories help get you into the Christmas spirit.
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The Legend Of The Mistletoe Bride Haunts England's Bramshill House
The legend of the Mistletoe Bride has been retold for centuries and has taken many forms. While the story's true origin is difficult to determine, many have come to believe its roots are in the disappearance of Lord Lovell's bride at the Bramshill House in Hampshire, England.
Allegedly, Lord Lovell was preparing to wed a young woman related to Sir John Cope, the owner of Bramshill House. This was around Christmastime, so mistletoe hung throughout the mansion, inspiring the wedding party to play a game. The young bride-to-be would hide somewhere in the mansion, the groomsmen would all seek her out, and whoever found her first would get to kiss her. So the bride went to hide, and the wedding party sought to find her. However, the minutes turned to hours, and they still could not find her. Eventually, the game turned terribly serious, as no matter where they looked, she remained missing.
Not until 50 years later did Lord Lovell, still seeking answers to his bride's disappearance, happen upon a secret closet in an upstairs room of the Bramshill House. Inside, he found a wooden chest sealed shut with a lock. Upon opening the chest, he found the nearly unrecognizable remains of his bride.
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The Brown Lady Of Raynham Hall Wanders The Passages Every Christmas
The Brown Lady of Raynham Hall has perplexed visitors and paranormal investigators for hundreds of years. Back in the 1700s, owner Charles Townshend married a young woman named Dorothy Walpole. While they lived happily together for some time in Raynham Hall, Townshend soon became paranoid that his new wife was being unfaithful to him. Eventually driving himself mad with jealousy, he decided to hide Dorothy away in the hall, telling all of their friends and family that she had tragically passed.
Dorothy was forced to stay inside the mansion, allowed only to wander through its halls. Not long after, she perished, never having left Raynham Hall after her husband imprisoned her. Ever since her passing, people have witnessed the image of a woman in a tattered brown dress wandering through the halls, and some of these reported encounters are truly horrifying. One visitor, unaware of the Brown Lady's legend, approached a woman in the hall, only to have her look at him "with a glowing face... but where her eyes should have been, there were only empty sockets."
Years later, after numerous other reported sightings, a photographer from Country Life magazine visited Raynham Hall to document it for an article. After snapping a photograph of the central stairwell, he saw within the image a hazy silhouette that many believe is none other than Dorothy Walpole, the Brown Lady.
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Alleged Phantoms Plagued A Brooklyn Home During Christmastime
A few weeks before Christmas in 1878, Edward F. Smith was at his home in Brooklyn, NY, when the doorbell rang. He answered the door, but there was no one there. This soon became a nightly occurrence - the doorbell would ring, only for Smith to find no one outside and no signs that anyone had been there at all.
Growing frustrated, Smith "sprinkled ash and flour along the path to the door, expecting to find footprints left behind, but the substances were undisturbed and the noises continued." No matter where he and his family stood around the house, the noises remained unidentifiable. Smith and his family were growing more concerned, as the doorbell ringing turned to aggressive banging on the doors. Eventually, they contacted the police.
The ringing and banging continued, and still no one was able to identify its source. One night, a brick suddenly flew through the window from outside, even though police officers were standing nearby and saw no one.
Although they investigated the home for some time, police were unable to identify the cause of the disturbances. Smith and those who witnessed the strange occurrences ultimately concluded they must be paranormal in nature.
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An Old Victorian House Is Allegedly Haunted By An Eccentric Woman Every Christmas
One group of ghosts from the Stark family has created quite a legacy for themselves. The Starks left behind numerous spirits that are now haunting a Victorian home in Ludington, MI, and visitors have reported numerous sightings - particularly around Christmas.
One such specter, Vera Stark, was well known in life for her eccentricities and seems to have brought them with her into the afterlife. Those who claim to have seen her ghost say she appears in the front yard of the home wearing only a fur coat and picking flowers - just as she did in life. In addition, the ghost of one of the Stark daughters - who suffered a terrible mishap in the mansion's gymnasium - can allegedly be seen walking through the halls of the home.
The current owners of the home have even attempted to open it up to historical tours, but they apparently ran into problems: "Our spirits did not care for it being open to the public, and went wild..."
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A Headless Horseman Allegedly Haunts Roos Hall Every December
Roos Hall, a mysterious mansion in the English countryside, is rumored to be one of the most haunted places in England. Located just outside the small town of Beccles in the county of Suffolk, the mansion has accumulated plenty of ghost stories ever since it was first built in the 16th century.
One of the most horrifying stories is that of the headless horseman. Many people may be familiar with this legend, but at Roos Hall, it takes on a life of its own. Numerous visitors to Roos Hall have reported a man on a horse riding toward them on the road, only to discover that he has no head. Allegedly, on Christmas Eve, the headless man is often seen "clattering down the driveway with his phantom coach and four horses."
And this is only the beginning of Roos Hall's ghostly existence: Other rumors claim that there are strange markings inside the hall known as devil's footprints, and some have even reported seeing a girl watching them from the windows.
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The Ghost Of Sir Geoffrey de Mandeville And His Headless Dog Roam The Streets On Christmas Eve
The story of Sir Geoffrey de Mandeville is brimming with political betrayals. He held the title of Earl of Essex and was a prestigious European landowner during the 1100s. Because of his title, he had great influence over royal politics at the time. However, when a debate emerged regarding the rightful heir to the throne, he chose the losing side and was promptly stripped of many of his assets and excommunicated from the church.
During his excommunication, Sir Geoffrey was slain on the battlefield, but because of his exile, he was not allowed a proper Christian interment, which many believe left his spirit trapped within the earthly realm.
Rumor claims that Sir Geoffrey also left a curse on the properties he owned, stating that, should they ever be taken away from him, ruin would befall his betrayer, and every six years on Christmas Eve, he and a headless dog would haunt the lands draped in a red cloak.
Ever since his demise, people who have visited the properties he once owned - particularly the Pymms Brook Bridge in East Barnet - have reported hearing strange sounds and witnessing the hazy image of a headless dog breaking through the fog, accompanied by a knight in full armor and a red cloak.